Monday, December 4, 2017

It's that time of the month

The beginning of every month is an exciting time. We are one month older, a few ounces heavier (or lighter), (hopefully) a little wiser, and (you can fill in the blank------------). 
Start of every month can be an edit, refresh and restart time. We can:
  • archive and possibly delete unpleasant memories, 
  • print happy memories, 
  • restock our fridge and pantry, 
  • clean our living spaces (I mean detail cleaning), 
  • declutter our closet and cabinets (donate, recycle and repurpose all those unused items taking space),
  • send out some cards and notes (in the age of social media, print communication is even more rewarding),
  • review our budget (maybe ask ourselves do I really need to dine out that often or help out amazon's sales every month),
  • weigh ourselves (you can decide what to do after seeing that number on the scale),
  • start a new healthy habit (can be anything from portion control, meditation, taking supplements, washing your face every night, burning a scented candle while reading etc.),
  • schedule family and friend time (some of us might forget to do that if we don't plan it ahead of time),
  • read (our society is in great need of people who read, not just fiction but a variety of books to self-educate).
You can make your own list and personalize it of course. But the monthly assessment of our life is less daunting than every January or after a disaster. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ladies check your PURSE!

How many women have neck and shoulder pain, headaches and preventable injuries related to their bags (handbag, shoulder bag, purses of different styles and sizes.)
How did we get here? Do we have to stay here? Do we really need the bag?
History of women's handbag is fascinating. It started as a pouch attached at the waistline, then a wristlet and now to almost a piece of luggage on our shoulders. It truly was inspired by the carry on handbags carried by travelers. We adopted a piece of luggage as part of our daily fashion. But does it have to be so inconvenient, inflict physical pain and cost so much?
So ladies check your bag or purse. Assess if you really have to carry all the items you carry in your purse or handbag around all the time. Start with your wallet. Do you need to have your collection of department store credit cards with you every day? Do you need two different kinds of hand sanitizers, lipsticks, nail clipper, electronic devices, notepad, diary, checkbook (if you still have those), extra pads, snacks, planner and other stuff at your immediate disposal daily? You might need some items like your planner and your small wallet (which includes your DL and one credit card), one emergency pad ( if you are overly cautious like me, you will always have an emergency stash), lip gloss, pen and hand sanitizer. You can make your own list of what must remain in your purse, and everything else can find a new home. Your desk or locker at work and your car can be back up storage locations. You really need to get the load off your shoulders and neck. Larger bags and heavier purses cause muscle strain on your neck and shoulder, which can lead to headaches and fatigue. The cycle will continue with sleep disturbance, posture problems, mood imbalances, wrinkles and premature aging.
To draw a conclusion, heavy purses make you wrinkly and old.
I know, I know. This is not a scientific conclusion. It may not even make any connection to you. But seriously, do you need the heavy purse you carry on your shoulder every day?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Is Balancing Act for women only?

Gender equality.
Philosophy, religion, science, and history have been trying to define and implore gender equality with minimum success. Why is it called a Man's world when in reality they wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for women? Why is the balancing act targeted at women? Why do women have to balance career, family and much more? Who gave men the pass to not deal with the same conflicts as women?
Why don't TV shows and magazine articles dispense advice for men on how to win over women and please their partners in bed better? I am not even going to bring the superficial issue of youth and how and why women need to keep young appearance. That's a separate discussion.
Why do women sit around telling other women how to please their husbands while taking care of their children and owning a professional career? Why don't they advise men on how to participate in house chores with their wives and how to behave with their female coworkers?
We have been telling girls to behave a certain way for centuries while not addressing the issue of masculinity. Why is "boys will be boys" an acceptable term?
We are making some overdue progress in elevating women in the society, but we are not addressing the widespread passive oppression of women. TV shows, magazines, social media (clips, articles and etc.) all have separate messages for men and women. The husband is grilling while the wife is decorating and getting vegetables ready. The man is raggedy while the woman is polished and decorated. All the man gets to do is work and drink while the woman has to work, raise kids, clean the house, look enticing, maintain independence and some more. When the marriage falls apart, or kids are screw-ups or business project is flawed, women are questioned.
Most of the time, it looks like a jungle out there, Men vs. Women. How I see it is that women are set up to fail by the mere design of the society and its expectations of women. The idea of harmony between and coexistence of men and women seem like an alien idea only endorsed by some celebrities as a luxury.
The balancing act wouldn't be so complicated if a partnership existed between men and women in the society. If mutual respect and understanding existed between men and women at home and at the workplace, women wouldn't have to do it all by themselves. Instead of teaching women "the balancing act," inform them of available options. Please advise men on pursuing a balancing act at home and work. Please educate men on establishing partnerships with their female counterparts. Mutual respect for each others' intelligence, gender, effort, and achievements is the basis of a harmonious existence. This is an established fact. We know the destination, we just haven't figured out how to get there yet. One way is to educate men and teach boys to respect women and girls. That's the balancing act.
#thebalancingact #genderequality #heforher

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Morning vs Evening

"Don't talk to me before my coffee!" "I am not a morning person." "I am a night owl." I am most productive at 3pm." What is your preference? Are you a morning person or evening person, and what do you mean by that?
Being sluggish in the morning can have different reasons, like poor sleep hygiene, low blood sugar, unhealthy diet etc. Running out of energy by the evening shares some of the same reasons like poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, stress and idleness. There is plenty of online advise for you to choose from to improve your energy level and mood.
What I would like to reflect on here is morning vs. evening. I am a morning person in the sense that I wake up early. But instead of spending beautiful morning hours stuck in traffic or listening to the news or anything else, I would like to sit and watch the color of the sky change, listen to the sound of life getting louder gradually, and join the stillness there is in the morning hours. I would like to go around my own house and observe and appreciate it in the early morning. The crisp weather, vivid colors, slowly changing backdrop, the anticipation of a new or another day are thrilling for those who notice them. It's my spiritual time of the day when I connect with my God and thank him for everything he has created and everything he has made possible for me. I can spend anywhere from 5 minutes to two hours doing all this. Then I would like to continue my day.
I avoid sleepy or sluggish portions of the day by taking small breaks throughout the day remaining focused and excited about what I am doing. My drive time is for books and music ( I listen to books, I don't read and drive). My evening is my home and family time. I don't multi-task, neither at work nor at home. If we are getting ready for dinner, that is all we are doing. No phone calls, no homework, no other menial chores. We chat, laugh, eat and clean up. Any serious subject has to wait for after dinner (never have serious talks on an empty stomach). I don't mind evening parties and hangouts once in a while if they last couple hours. Any longer than that, I (mentally) check out.
I am focused on removing the sense of hurry and rushed behavior from my life. When I take 30 minutes in the morning to meditate or stretch, I am not thinking of anything else but the activity I am doing. I use all the 30 minute and intend to enjoy every minute of it. When I am spending my evening hour with family, I fully relax and focus on enjoying my family time. I listen, I laugh, I share. There is no counting of minutes to the end of the hour so I can check the mail or get my laundry done. The days that I arrive home exhausted, I lay down first, or drink a nice hot cup of unsweetened tea. I am not thinking about "only couple more hours to push through, and it will be bedtime, and I can relax then." I don't want to be tired and miserable for two hours waiting for my bed. I spend 30 minutes recharging so I can enjoy my hour and a half before bedtime.
Yes, I do have those mornings (during the week) that I don't want to wake up. Since feeling forced really takes the joy out of life, I don't force myself to wake up. Instead, I compromise ( which is better than feeling helpless and being forced). I quickly decide what do I want to give up to lay down another 10-20 minutes, hot breakfast, putting on makeup, or 30 minutes of my lunch for arriving 30 minutes late to work. Then I lay back down and close my eyes and thoroughly enjoy my extra minutes of morning sleep.
So I am a morning person and an evening person depending on the kind of morning and evening I have created. And I can be annoyingly active and chatty midday because I stay motivated.

#lifehacks #morning #evening

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Your knight in shinning armor

I had lived my early years of life under an oppressive regime, in a state of constant unknown, and hopeless future. As a girl, I couldn't dream to be independent and have an individual identity. I had to be someone's daughter, sister, wife or mother. My parents were torn between keeping us safe and giving us hope.
I sometimes took refuge in my imaginations, where I was placed in a very different society where I could be my own person. One of these imaginary paths were running away to a foreign land with a male companion who would protect me and also allow me to become my own person, my knight in shinning armor.
When I finally did come to the land of opportunity and freedom, I was overwhelmed. I wanted to do so many things with very limited capabilities. My imaginations had fooled my mind and my expectations by tricking my mind to believe that I was capable of more that I actually could do. I had a major gap between my new reality and my unrealistic expectations. Thus began my struggles.
Fast forward to now, I know better than to let my imaginations fool me again.
Envisioning your future can be helpful but don't let imaginations take you to a far land of fantasy from where return will be a rude awakening. Keep track of your goals and keep count of your skills and potentials. Make sure what you want to do matches your capabilities. If not, draw the map and find out where you can make improvements. Do you need an academic degree, a life coach, a health consultant, an accountability buddy, a new financial plan, or something else?
Also, don't ever underestimate the power of smart work. There is no substitute for it. You can inherit a kingdom, but if you don't work smart, it won't last you long enough. Don't let roadblocks, laziness and shinny things distract you. Don't let Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest be your guide. Have fun and relieve stress as needed. But go back to basics, education, smart work, networking, ethics, honesty and common sense should be woven deeply in your plans of action.

#envision #lifelesson

Monday, October 2, 2017

Go ahead and Quit!

"Winners never quit and quitters never win."
Like "think positively" this statement is a scam. Don't believe it, don't make it your motto. You will save yourself a lot of heartache, time, effort and even money by quitting the cumbersome pursuit, the wrong person, the forced relationship, the impractical dream.
We sometimes think of our energy and time as an infinite resource, a well that never dries. WRONG!!!!
Once we realize this, we will value our personal resources dearly and will dedicate them to meaningful purposes. If getting that perfect body is an unmanageable goal and brings you so much guilt and shame, it is time to quit. Don't quit on your health, instead quit on the unreasonable goal that doesn't fit your priorities and lifestyle. Redefine your goal; maybe you can't be size 2, but you need to work out to keep endorphin circulating in your system, to keep pain away and your blood sugar steady.
Escalation of commitment is what keeps gamblers in the game longer. People stay in broken relationships because "they don't want to give up on love" or something of such nature. Fear of unknown is another reason.
We human beings are very complex psychological beings and usually there is more than one reason for our actions. There are no quick fixes or shortcuts, no easy way out or simple way to the top. There is no need to be discouraged though since we are wired to struggle and grow. The key is to invest in the pursuit of meaningful goals. And if you arrive at a dead end, don't sit there. Make a U-Turn and take a better route.
I have learned that quitting is very liberating, allowing you to re-invent yourself and see different colors of life. So make sure that you don't put on blindfolds of traditional myths and rules and deny yourself richness of the world by trying to open a door that has been sealed shut. Quitting is not a bad idea. When you quit, you are saying "This phenomenon no longer deserves my energy and time and I respect myself enough to walk away now."
Once you find your true passion and purpose, you will know it in your heart and mind. Investing in your true passion will be rewarding and productive. So save your patience and persistence for the right reason.

#quit #lifelesson

Monday, September 25, 2017

Denial is the first step of failure.

You read all kinds of quotes about "denial" and how it is bad for you. I agree.
One way denial can hurt you is it brings you closer to failure. When you deny your own responsibility in your mistakes, you fail to learn the lesson. When you deny you made a mistake in the first place, you deny yourself growth and change. When you deny you need to change, you are getting ready to settle in a hole and wait for misery to be dumped on you.
Denial has its perks which makes it very popular with lazy people. When you deny, you are putting the blame on someone else and so you win the blame game. When you deny, you don't have to change or do anything different and that makes life easier.
Oh the luxury to have to no accountability and responsibility towards yourself and others is so precious. Sometimes, we go the extra mile to obtain that luxury.
Imagine how privileged it sounds when we issue the verdict that someone else was at fault and now has to pay the price and acquit ourselves from any guilty feelings and hard work. That is denial at its best. The temporary reward of denial is luring, to feel no guilt, to not be disappointed, to face no consequences. Denial is like paparazzi with TMZ, a cheap shot.
During this whole time, your conscious is waiting for jitters of fake victory to subside so it can give you "the look". The look that means "are you done kidding yourself?". If your conscious is severely damaged, comatose or dead, your fake victory will last much longer, and will turn into chronic self-righteousness. Win for  you.
If your conscious is still alive and functioning, then denial can only go so far with you. You eventually will have to face the reality. This reality will require you to accept responsibility, face disappointment, suffer criticism, make amendments and change. All of this is hard work and sometimes they contradict our perceptions and beliefs about ourselves. If you think I am on to something, you are right.
I am using reverse psychology as a means of motivation for you to ditch denial and embrace your mistakes and your responsibilities, and to improve yourself. We all know reverse psychology, we have been subjected to it by our parents at one point or another in our lives. Honestly, it works more often that we like to admit.
The bottom line is that denial will lead to failure. If you want to succeed in life, don't deny yourself growth and change, don't deny your flaws, don't deny your own role in your destiny. Embrace it. Embrace your strengths and weaknesses, embrace hard work and embrace your free will in designing your life.

#denial #embrace #lifelesson #createyourowndestiny

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Set your limit and follow it!

I was listening to a book in my car today and one sentence really captured my attention. "set limit to your worry and once you have reached that limit, stop worrying about that one thing."
It is like budgeting. We set a limit on how much money we will spend on groceries, clothing, and dining out. We budget our time by limiting how much TV we watch and browse social media sites (hopefully we are doing so). So why not set limit on our worrying habit. We often worry ourselves crazy paranoid about the past or the future. We use our energy as if it is an infinite source.
We pick our favorite worry and spend countless hours ruminating over it, creating worst case scenarios, predicting reactions and misfortunes and get paranoid about it. If this process is interrupted by sleep, work and other daily obligations, we pick up where we have left off and carry on as soon as we get the chance.
So here is a tip on how to cap your worry, decide how much time you will invest in worrying about each event first. Then keep track of it so once you have reached that amount of time or energy, you can tell yourself to stop. I mean you have so much more to worry about. What about all other past ruminations and future speculations in your life waiting on the list for your worry? You have to be fair to all the problems by giving them each fair amount of time and energy to worry about. Once you have reached your worry limit for one topic, you have to stop worrying about that topic and move on to the next.
It is a simple principle that you expect others to follow, respect your limits. You have to extend the same courtesy to  yourself. Set your limit on how much you will worry about one issue and once you reach that limit, you have to stop. Budget your energy and time properly so you will have enough for other worry-inducing issues in your daily life. They all deserve their share of your time so they can trigger specific anxiety and stress in you.
For some people, night time is break time. For others, it is the same circus with a different background. Some of us can lay our head on the pillow, close our eyes and drift away in a dark place with no disturbance. However, some of us may only get few minutes break until night shift worries step in and work their shift.

#worry #lifelesson

Friday, February 17, 2017

What's your subscription?

What is your lifestyle?
Life is full of colors, themes, struggles, options, paths and outcomes. As a human being, we have so many needs and we have options for each. We need to eat, dress, have a shelter or residence, interact, learn and explore, have purpose, define our direction, exist in harmony, have individual identity etc. We have many roles to fill, many expectations to meet, many choices to make on a daily basis. It is not all hard since we are designed to accomplish all this at some point in our lives. But, most of us struggle; we struggle mentally, ethically, physically to meet the challenge because there is conflict. There is conflict between choices and decision, desires and potentials, and our greed to maximize our benefit with every decision we make and our potentials. Everyone wants to outsmart life, to maximize their profits and minimize their efforts and sufferings. Era of social media has been having contradicting influence on the outcome of our decisions. As much as social media has contributed to flattening of the world and transparency of human behavior across the world, it has also brought superficial values and mental chaos in our personal lives. During Vietnam war, college students on the front line of demonstrations and resistance. Their current counterparts are more concerned with their social media status and creating impressions of success online than their real life contributions.
Coming back to chaos in personal life, we want to make the most delicious lamb chop and be a vegetarian (because it is healthy and ethical), we want to support a social cause and dress up in high end fashion and hang out with friends frequently. We want to work less, earn more, spend extravagantly now and save lavishly for retirement. And you have many non credible sources telling you that "you can have it all".
Unrealistic and conflicting desires are the root of the chaos in our lives. Many people suffer from self imposed and contradictory expectations and don't even realize it. They practice stress release activities and wonder why does stress continue to disrupt their lives. They wonder why they haven't accomplished peace of mind despite "having it all".
Then there are people who have already given up on life because they think in terms of "all or none".
I have been in both categories at one or another time in my life and I was tired of it. My habits of self reflections and thriving to improve my life helped me reach a solution. I realized my life philosophies were whether incomplete or contradictory. I wanted to have a peaceful space but also extensively stylish and decorated. I wanted to enact every bucket list I came across on Pinterest, own all the gadgets on, be a fashion instagramer, an avid reader, a successful writer, a social activist and my daughter's role model. I wanted to be five different people at the same time and I didn't know why I was so stressed. I was expecting myself to figure out life by the time I was in my 30s. It wasn't supposed to be so hard, right?
At some point in my life, I give up running the invisible race. I don't know how it happened, since I didn't encounter a life changing experience. Gradually, I let go of my expectation to be perfect, to be the best at everything I do etc. I gave up my expectation to go to the gym ( I have a gym membership for 6 months now and I have only been there 6 times), to keep my closet filled with colorful and stylish clothes, to keep a spotless clean house ( I continually failed at it anyways), to decorate my space modernly and keep up with social media.
I went to basics. Forget weight loss, as long as I am pain free. No need for fancy food recipes (sorry Rachel Ray). Goodbye social media challenges and hello Minimalism. I wrote my own list of self care activities and put "reading" at the top of the list. I cut off any complicated societal, religious and cultural ties and re-defined my life purpose. I am focused on kindness and forgiveness regardless of return behavior of people. I dress for comfort with pride, exercise to energize and avoid pain, eat to enjoy food, and listen to my favorite music even though it is not Adele and BeyoncĂ©.
Therefore, I have subscribed to a minimalistic and simplistic lifestyle and I am getting better at it everyday. Keeping my needs to basics, expectations simple and desires to minimum, I am getting back my peace of mind and ethical confidence. It is a conscious effort that I apply to all areas of my life. And did I mention I am happier now than ever before?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Returning home

I am scared to to return home. The home I have with my husband. I am afraid I will expect him to pick up after himself, I will expect him to share in the responsibilities of raising our daughter, and I am afraid that I will be disappointed. I will be mad in return, and then sad, angry, resentful and unhappy. I wonder if he sees me as a lazy wife. One that needs help despite not working. I wonder if he has expectations from me to be like his friends wives, or at least the Facebook version of them: adventurous, active, fit, great party hosts... i wonder if he is dreading my return to home.

I have to take it one day at a time, one hour at a time. The universe is telling me to be positive, to be in charge of my own happiness. I must remind myself of that. I must lower my expectations, way more! I must remind myself that nothing stays the same. That maybe this is the hard years. I must act the exact same way I want him to act. I must...I will love him despite his flaws, and his short comings. I will love him, period. After all isn't it what I expect from him?
I will remind myself of the times I couldn't wait to be with him and take that feeling and energy and will go sit next to him. I will forgive him for not helping me, for not seeing my exhaustion, my sacrifice, my heartache. I will be positive. I will be grateful. I will keep my anger in check. I will be the one to give and not ask for anything back, at least for now. I will be ok with an imperfect marriage and imperfect life partner. I will remind myself that I am stronger and wiser than to ruin the day by expressing my anger and dissatisfaction. I will watch my tone. I will be non-judgemental. I will be relaxed. I will take a minute to myself. I will do something personal for myself. I will Ignore the dust, the dirt, the flaws and find one thing positive to be grateful about. I will be a different person. I will keep anxiety at bay. I will keep negativity away. I will rejoice in the health of myself and my daughter. I will be patient. I will persevere! 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Perfection vs Connection

I am lucky that I am not a perfectionist, but I was attempting to be one inconsistently.
As a mother, I used to stress about being the perfect mother by focusing on minor daily mishaps. My on and off and often failed attempts at "fixing" every little aspect of my and my daughter's life was keeping me in a constant state of anxiety. In my career, I used to drain all my energy by giving 150% on the job and emotionally getting involved in my patients' issues. Then I came across this idea " connection vs perfection". It feels as if I found the missing link in my search for a more practical and peaceful life.
This idea shifted my perspective and relieved me from unnecessary stress and anxiety. Now I give 100% on the job. I am still compassionate and caring while acknowledging my limitations. My patients love me and I love helping them as much as possible. I have realized that connecting with my patients and establishing trusting relationship with them is more effective than trying to take over their care. I put them in charge of their care and assume the role of a well informed guide. Beyond my patients, I no longer bend over backwards for corporate America. This is a topic for a whole new discussion.
My parenting style is more relaxed and effective now. First of all, I realized my role is to assist, guide, nurture, strengthen, and equip my daughter. I am here to raise her for her own future and not my intended life for her. When focusing on connecting with her vs perfecting her, I allow her to become her own person. I no longer squeeze her into my perceived idea of who she should be. I am learning to see her point of view, allow her to express herself and explore the world with her. Instead of making the bed, I learn about her favorite book. Cooking can be a joint effort, regardless of how long it will take or how imperfect the dish will turn out. The only non academic activity for her is her Tea Kown Do. I give her the chance to interact in social gatherings at her own pace, regardless of being judged by others about not being strict with her. I have finally realized that her growing up is about her, not about me and certainly not about other people's expectations. I no longer strive for perfection in my life. It is about connection, connecting with yourself, your family, your friends. And to connect, you must let go of predetermined notions, idealistic expectations and perfection. As human beings, we are designed to be biased, unethical, imperfect, flawed and sometimes stubborn. Yet we will need love, connection and acceptance. How can you connect if you don't accept other's flaws and imperfections?

It feels good to declutter :-)

I am in the middle of selling the current house and moving to an apartment ordeal. The task of simplifying and downsizing is physically and ...